This section is from the "Hand Sewing Lessons" book, by Sarah Ewell Krolik. Also available from Amazon: Hand Sewing Lessons: A Graded Course For Schools And For The Home.
Thread is a small twist of linen, silk, cotton, or wool.
A needle is a small wire of steel, with a sharp point at one end, and a hole at the other.
Needles are sharps, betweens, and blunts. Sharps are used for millinery, for light weight cloth, and for basting. Blunts and betweens are used for heavy weight cloth.
Use the best quality. Never use a bent needle.
Use Nos. 30 and 40 thread with No. 7 needles.
Use Nos. 40 and 50 thread with No. 8 needles.
Use Nos. 60 and 70 thread with No. 9 needles.
Use Nos. 80 and 90 thread with No. 10 needles.
Use Nos. 90 and 100 thread with No. 11 needles.
Use No. 100 and finer threads with No. 12 needles.
Use thread to match in size the thread of the material.
Use thread no longer than the arm. Thread for button-holes may be two-thirds of that length. Never bite or break the thread from a garment.
A small knot in the thread is allowable when it can be hidden. To prevent kinking, make the knot on the end that breaks from the spool. Silk thread should be fastened securely.
A class needle-book can be made by folding up one inch of a five-inch square of felt, and stitching places for different sizes of needles. Mark the number above each place, and finish the edge with blanket-stitch.